Genkaku Picasso 2

February 22, 2011

Usamaru Furuya – Viz – 2011 – 3 volumes

In case you missed it last time, I LOVE Usamaru Furuya. Honestly, I am completely and ridiculously biased about this series, but I still think it’s great, and I think that a lot of the problems I had with the first volume were solved in the second. The reason I came forward with that disclosure first thing is that I’m not sure how they are solved, because it does a lot of the same things. But I liked this volume a lot better, and the best gimmicks about the art and story are being put to good use.

The structure of the chapters is the same. A classmate of Hikari’s (new every time) is having trouble, and Hikari complains about his arm rotting until he accidentally finds a way to “draw the darkness of their heart,” then complains some more until he enters his drawing and accidentally solves whatever moral problem the person was having. The topics are a little more indepth this time, including two unusually touching stories about gender identity. One from a character who finds himself increasingly uncomfortable as a male, and another from a girl who can’t identify herself as a girl because of childhood teasing and builds barriers to function in her current relationship. Other stories touch on ambition and jealousy. A couple of the stories are multi-chapter this time, too.

The topics of conflict with the featured characters were more complex, and while I still feel like the characters were going through the motions to solve the problems, they were much more interesting to read. The characters du jour also did a good job of talking through what was bothering them in every case, and once again, I can’t get over the surreal pencil drawings and landscapes Hikari enters into in every chapter. It’s truly the highlight of the series for me, the fun it has with the art. So I guess the second volume really did improve on the first.

There were some bizarre pop culture references that took some puzzling in most cases. The second story arc pivots on an Evangelion, but not really Evangelion, anime that the couple (one that Hikari helps in the last volume) enjoy together. Hikari gets to pilot the Eva unit in the heart landscape and everything. Later, there’s a Walt Disney World parody called Borise World. While the Evangelion dodge was an easy one to figure out, it was the fact William Borise was obviously Walt Disney that linked the two… I have no idea where Borise comes from Disney, assuming both are spelled and pronounced the way I think they are. There’s also a Morning Musume reference in one of the later stories.

I’ve grown to like the characters. They’re pretty one-dimensional, sure, but that’s the point. I love cranky Hikari, who only ever complains and never really solves anybody’s problems. As a result of the “heart landscapes,” he also finds himself in increasingly awkward positions, such as on the floor spying on an intimate couple, playing a character’s clarinet in secret to try to get a feel for her, and more and more in the bathroom, where he can draw in peace without his increasingly large number of “friends” bothering him. For all his quirks and misanthropy, everybody he helps seems to genuinely like him in return, though I love that he is largely unchanged by this.

I’m afraid a lot of people were scared off by the first volume. Don’t be! If you were at all intrigued by the experimentation there, things are much better in this volume, I promise. And by much better, I mean the stories have been fine-tuned and things are less annoyingly formulaic. It’s more of the same, but better, and it gives the truly unique elements of this story a chance to be properly appreciated.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

2 Responses to “Genkaku Picasso 2”

  1. Lydia Says:

    Hey! Your review on the Genkaku Picasso volume two was really good! You highlighted the way that a lot of people did get confused about the first Volume but also the fact that the characters display a lot of common issues but also the issues that make people insecure about them selves,their gender or sexuality;Just like Kotone how she likes BL stuff and how Hishida had,as his father called it ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ and this made him hate himself…..Really a lot of people at my school laugh at me for liking Anime and Manga but they can help me understand a lot of problems that people are as mean or ignorant to laugh at.

  2. […] Treatment) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 2 (Comic Attack) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 2 (The Manga Critic) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 2 (Slightly Biased Manga) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 3 (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Genkaku Picasso, […]

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